THE San Miguel-Barangay Ginebra finals series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup is fortified with several interesting matchups, but Renaldo Balkman said those won’t be the keys to victory for each team.
Balkman has his own interesting tiff with Justin Brownlee, who will be facing off for the first time in a finals since the two players were teammates during their stint with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League. That import matchup is aside from another exciting battle between June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter in the paint.
The 33-year-old Balkman, however, would rather focus on the team aspect of the finals series than the individual match-ups, as he feels that whichever team will play as a team will win the title.
“There is no I in team,” Balkman said. “I’ve got to play as a team with the team and with my teammates. We have to play team basketball.”
“There’s no one-on-one there. May the best man win and whoever plays team basketball, come out, and play together, whoever plays defense, that’s the team who will win the championship,” said Balkman.
“Win, lose, or draw, whoever wins, we still going to be friends, brothers, on and off the court,” Balkman said, referring to Brownlee. “It’s going to be a dogfight.”
Following his stint with Alab Pilipinas, Balkman has helped the Beermen atone for their 0-3 start to reach the finals despite being the sixth-seed entering the playoffs.
While his presence has led to averages of 28.1 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.2 blocks, and 1.7 steals, Balkman said he is also fortunate to have four-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo as teammate in the Commissioner’s Cup as Fajardo has also been carrying the load for the Beermen this conference.
“It’s always good to have a big man. People consider me as a big man but I grew up playing as a guard so playing with him is great to be on my side."
“He is a great guy, he is a great center. He is one of the best who did it in the PBA. More to come, more championship for him to win, and we go out and try to win this weekend,” said Balkman.
Aside from Brownlee though, Balkman is expected to be guarded by two of Ginebra’s top bigs in Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, and the San Miguel said the two are also capable of making things hard for the Beermen in the finals series.
“Those are great players,” Balkman said of the two locals. “Like they said, they are two of the best players in the PBA too. Great games. But again, it’s not really about the match-ups. It’s which team is going to play harder. We are both a great team.”